Talking to your kids about their sexuality
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Month. It's a good time to talk to your children about families that might look the same or different from your own and also a good time to talk with them about their own sexuality. We've brought in the experts to help you tackle this sensitive subject.
This month is an excellent time to make sure you are doing your part in supporting equal rights. Since June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month, we've invited the experts to share their thoughts on how to talk to your kids about their own sexual preferences and the preferences of people around them.
When is the right time?
Have you had a tug of suspicion that your child may be gay? Do you sometimes wonder if your son or daughter is struggling with something deeper than just the typical angst of growing up? Approaching the subject of sexuality can be difficult. Sheri, the parent of a gay son shares, "I knew my son was struggling with something around middle school age. I told him that whatever it was I was here for him when he was ready to talk and would love him no matter what. He was angry at first when I brought up the subject but I think it was because he was not sure either. He came to me when he was ready to accept it himself."
Katie Hurley, a child, adolescent and family psychotherapist at Practical Parenting says, "Talking to kids about sexuality can be anxiety-producing for parents. Part of that stems from the fact that parents know far more than they want their children to know."
Here are a few tips to follow if you are parenting a gay child >>
Making sure your child feels loved and accepted in your family is key to keeping the lines of communication open. "Open communication along the way ensures that your child will come to you with questions. A supportive, nonjudgmental relationship is the key to helping children understand this complicated concept," adds Hurley.
Talking to your child about same-sex couples
As society becomes more and more accepting, your children are more likely to see gay and lesbian families in their day-to-day life. Talk to your children openly about all of the different kinds of families in the world.
Same-sex couples will appreciate the fact that you make this discussion a priority. Trish and her partner of Super Little Tales share, "The boring truth is that we're really just like any other family... we have love for our partners and our children. I suppose the only difference is that we are sharing and building our lives with someone of the same sex. The important thing is that we love one another and that we teach our children to be loving and accepting of others, no matter the circumstances."
Looking for more advice? Try these tips on talking to your child about homosexuality >>
Erin Margolin, co-founder of The Gay Dad Project offers, "Keep the conversation going. Adjust the things you say as your children get older and can handle more information. I often talk to my kids about this stuff the same way I do about religion and issues of race or ethnicity: We are all different, and those differences are to be celebrated and embraced. The world would be a pretty boring place if we all looked alike, sounded alike and did the exact same things, believed the same things."